I stood alone. Bruised and flat-chested. Praying to have made the right decision. A casual office visit. A simple genetic test. A percentage of numbers had jump-started an amazingly wonderful, scary rollercoaster ride as I settled into life after a preventative mastectomy. As I looked in the mirror, I considered what I had lost. Gone were the breasts with which I nursed my daughter, the breasts that my grandmother and I celebrated once they budded from “nubbins”, the breasts that made me look like a million bucks in my favorite sorority shirt. Gone.
In my loss, I didn’t consider that I had gained something more valuable… Peace. Gone is the fear of finding a lump as I examine my breasts in the shower each month. Gone is the apprehension I felt as I impatiently waited for the results of my annual mammogram. Gone is the anxiety I experienced as I helplessly awaited my turn at breast cancer, like an inevitable right of passage… Like my mother in the past (twice!) and my sister in the present. Breast cancer has stripped moments of happiness from our family; unfortunately, but it has also birthed this beautiful tapestry of strength, courage, and resilience.
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